Magpies Vs Southland - October 11, 2014

The Magpies battled Southland in their fourth Ranfurly shield defense at McLean Park. The Magpies looked rattled after an early 7 pointer to Southland fullback, Junior Ngaluafe. Handling errors repeatedly cost the Magpies possession & field position as Southland were in smashing form, repelling the local attack with brutal tackling. Ihaia West kicked a penalty to get on the board followed by a second Stags try to Lima Sopoaga. It seemed the Stags would take the half time honours until a pair of quick tries to Shannan Chase lifted the Magpies to a 17-14 lead. The second half was a torrid affair where the defences of both sides excelled. However, the Stags made the Magpies pay with two penalties, first tying it up, then giving the Stags a three point lead with just minutes remaining. The big Hawke’s Bay crowd lifted the locals who worked themselves into good field position. Less than a minute remained when referee Ben O’Keeffe signaled a penalty advantage to the Magpies. Ihaia West took his opportunity & slotted a sweetly struck drop goal, sending the crowd into a frenzy of relief. The Stags had one more possession to try & regain the lead, but were bundled into touch to conclude the game. The Magpies retain the shield (just) with a full time score of 20-20. The Magpies scored two tries via Shannan Chase. Ihaia West kicked two conversions, one penalty & one drop goal. The shield will now stay locked away for the summer as the Magpies prepare for a Championship home semifinal against Northland.